Small hospitals in Delhi struggle with limited oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients

The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday night ordered the Centre to "forthwith" provide oxygen by whatever means to hospitals.
Oxygen cylinder and health worker in PPE suit
Oxygen cylinder and health worker in PPE suit
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Several small hospitals in Delhi struggled to replenish oxygen supply for coronavirus patients on Thursday morning, even as some big healthcare facilities received fresh stock overnight.

Hospitals in the city have been grappling with a shortage of oxygen supply amid spiralling COVID-19 cases.

The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday night ordered the Centre to "forthwith" provide oxygen by whatever means to hospitals here facing shortage of the gas in treating serious COVID-19 patients, observing it seems human life is not important for the state .

The central government, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, assured the court that it will facilitate supply of the increased allocation of 480 metric tonnes of oxygen to Delhi and the same will reach the national capital without any obstructions.

However, several private hospitals complained that no help has reached them.

Officials at the 210-bed Mata Chanan Devi Hospital sent an SOS to the Delhi government as their oxygen supplier didn't fulfil commitments .

Around 40 patients are in ICU. We got 500 kg oxygen last night. The supplier was supposed to give more at 4 am, but they have not been picking up calls since then, ICU Head Dr A C Shukla said.

With the Delhi government's intervention, we have got 21 D-type cylinders, but a continuous supply is needed. The situation is very serious, he added.

Dr Pankaj Solanki, who runs the 50-bed Dharamveer Solanki Hospital, said the hospital is using the back up which will last till Thursday afternoon.

Dr Solanki said he had informed officials concerned to transfer out 30 patients.

The oxygen crisis is at its worst. It is adding more pressure on the functioning. No one is able to help, his tweet posted on Wednesday evening read.

An official at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital said they were low on oxygen and their supplier isn't responding to calls.

Meanwhile, some hospitals received fresh stock overnight and more is likely to come in soon.

Dr. Suresh Kumar, the medical director at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, said three tankers carrying oxygen reached the facility last night.

At 8:30 am, we have around 8 hours of oxygen left. More is coming, he told PTI.

An official at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said supply was replenished around 6 am.

The stock will last till 9 am Friday. Supply from a private vendor is awaited, he said.

Officials at the Burari Hospital said they have sufficient stock till afternoon.

Spokesperson of the St Stephen's Hospital said they received fresh supply on Wednesday evening and the stock can last till 4 pm. "More to come around noon," he added.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the Haryana government of blocking medical oxygen supply to Delhi.

The Haryana government vehemently refuted the allegations, underlining that no one in the administration had hampered anything.

Sisodia had claimed that an official of the Haryana government stopped oxygen supply from a plant in Faridabad.

He had said a similar incident occurred in Uttar Pradesh a day ago and it led to a crisis in some hospitals, adding the oxygen supply had been restored now.

Delhi logged 24,638 coronavirus cases and 249 deaths on Wednesday, as the positivity rate stood at 31.28 percent -- meaning almost every third sample turned out to be positive -- amid a growing clamour for oxygen and hospital beds in the city.

Only 18 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients were available in hospitals across Delhi at 11 pm, according to government data.

On Tuesday, the city had recorded 28,395 cases and 277 fatalities, both highest since the pandemic began ravaging countries. The positivity rate was 32.82 percent, highest so far.

The city has reported over 1,350 deaths due to the deadly virus in the last 7 days.

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